The new Moderna coronavirus vaccine will not be provided in Tayside and Fife in the “immediate future” due to low supply and storage issues.
The recently approved jag will first be rolled out in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the Lothians, and Grampian.
The news comes despite Fife currently delivering the lowest percentage of second doses in Scotland.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced that Moderna, the latest tool in the Covid-19 fight, is to be rolled out across the country from April.
But a report released yesterday states initial distribution will be uneven in Scotland.
Addressing an NHS Fife board meeting on Wednesday, the organisation’s chief pharmacist Scott Gordon said giving the bigger boards first dibs makes sense.
He said: “The Moderna vaccine, relative to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, is of a relatively small amount in the UK.
“But it also has slightly different storage conditions as well and requires a different type of freezer from Pfizer.
“So what they’ve decided to do is take it into those bigger boards who can accommodate that a little bit more easily with the storage requirements, logistics, and recognising these larger vaccination centres where they will be using the Moderna vaccine.
“I think it’s a very practical and pragmatic decision to try and make best use of that vaccine with limited disruption maybe to ourselves and other boards our size.”
The health board has just reached what it describes as a “major milestone” this week in delivering both doses of a vaccine to residents and staff at all Fife care homes.
At the end of the day on Tuesday, 197,000 vaccines had been delivered in Fife, 185,000 of those first doses, which is above the national average.
However the Kingdom is currently lagging behind delivery of second doses with just 3.24% fully vaccinated, compared to 6.2% in Scotland as a whole.
Tayside meanwhile is above average at 7.12%.
A report to the board produced by the pharmacy & medicines department of NHS Fife states: “The Moderna vaccine, which is due to be available in the UK in April, will not be provided to NHS Fife in the immediate future and is being made available to NHS GGC [Greater Glasgow and Clyde], NHS Lothian and NHS Grampian only.
“This is due to the constrained initial supply levels, and logistical requirements.”
Moderna is delivered at a temperature of between -25 degrees and -15 degrees and must be thawed by pharmacy teams before use.
After being thawed the vaccine is stable for 30 days at +2ºC to +8ºC.
The UK has now approved three vaccines. These are produced by Pfizer, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, and Moderna.
A significant reduction in supply of AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured overseas is set to affect the national programme in the coming weeks.
Dr Gordon said the roll-out for the next cohort aged 40-49 will likely “slightly” slow down as a result but reaffirmed supply for second doses is already “protected”.
The report also addressed concerns surrounding the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada the latest government to partly suspend its use.
It states: “There has been widespread media coverage of decisions by neighbouring countries to pause use of the AZ product, based on perceived concerns regarding blood clotting.
“The MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] has provided robust assurance on the safety of the vaccine and is clear that the available evidence does not suggest that blood clots in veins (venous thromboembolism) are caused by Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.
“This follows a detailed review of report cases as well as data from hospital admissions and GP records.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Due to the properties of Moderna, the vaccine is best suited for use in mass vaccination clinics. Every Health Board will continue to receive a fair share of the total number of Covid vaccines available in Scotland.”